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legal question

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by rnviper3, Oct 27, 2006.

  1. rnviper3

    rnviper3 New Member

    i was reading a post this morning where a guy had turned in to the dnr a customer who shot a deer with bird shot. it got me thinking. are we as taxidermist obligated to report such things. what if a customer brings in a specimen which does not appear to be attained by legal methods or in leagal seasons or even leagal size for fish. are we as taxidermist obligated to know what those seasons and sizes are supposed to be. i live in Michigan, and i didn't have to take any test on laws or anything to get my license. i do know what species are indangered or protected, so i know i wont go wrong on that. just turn them away. but what if i get a specimen in and then realize it isn't legal. should i report it. what is to be said to the customer. would i get in trouble for taking it in. let me know your thoughts, or your knowledge on this issue. thanks
    [email protected]
  2. Ssslow down, first all you really have is a hunch on if its illegal.

    Fish could be from someones farm pond, or from and area where that fish was legal.

    Now let's look at deer, so you get a deer in that has some fresh birds shot.

    1. Did you see it killed with bird shot?

    2. How do you know that person shot it?

    3. Since other seasons run concurrent with deer season, i.e. squrriel, rabbit even bird seasons. how do you know the person bringing the animal in did the illegal shooting.

    4. Yes, people can bring you a fish or deerhead anytime of year, they are not required to bring it to your shop during the season. Animals can be wrapped well and last for years in the freezer!! I think many of us have our own mounts still yet to be started.

    Your best bet is to have a disclaimer on your contract saying.

    The owner of the animal has legally taken this game, have them sign or initial it.

    You and I cannot tell if anything was illegally taken, I know tons of hunters who make claims about boths ways.

    I know for a fact you will not be in business long if you start calling the game warden for every mount that comes in. Be as legal as you can be, but YOU and I cannot issue morality tickets.

    Yea, there will be a bunch of BS do gooders make claims here, but we as taxidermist are not Dr. G animal death investigaters. In a perfect world we would never be involed in investigations but the more you do the more you will see what I am saying.

    Do your best work, keep as legal as you can be!!! Work with your game wardens the best you can.

    I am sure everyone knows someone who has visited the dark side of breaking the laws. Heck I know a taxidermist who was caught poaching elk in Colorado. Would I do that NOpe cant afford the ticket. Do I fish in restricted areas? yes, but I follow what the law says to do.

    Let me give you an example, two weeks ago I fished a catch and release area, with barbless hooks as required, I did not keep any fish from there, but I was catching fish and other anglers were not. What was the difference??? My approach using the samething in a way. I was using green fuzz balls, look like green salmon eggs, I had three fisherman waiting at the ramp when I came in and they were hot. The had watched and taken digital vidoes, but they also saw me come striaght to the ramp after I released a four pound rainbow, they were very suprised to see I had green fuzz balls. on three rods, why?? Because I caught fish and they did not. I did things legally and beat them at their game.

    Standing there watching from a distance they thought I was breaking the law. I have also been accussed of keeping fish from that area, I have only fished there 2 times. I just dont keep small fish if the fish from legal areas are not 14 inches I dont keep them, well rainbows.

    I fished Colorado this summer and caught some 15 inch browns, yes I kept them, I have them in my freezer now. but they are legal where I caught them and not legal where I fish in Arkansas. So can I have them in Arkansas? Yes as they were legal where taken.

    So dont be quick to assume someone broke a law. You may endup with mud on your face.

  3. rnviper3

    rnviper3 New Member

    thanks for the responce. i am just concerned that some day i may get something illegal in my shop and not know it, then get inspected with it in here. hasnt yet happened, but i dont want it to either. thanks again.
  4. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Hi Bob, George has a saying that I like to stick to, We are not the outdoor cops. If the job comes in and it has a tag, and they don't say anything fishy about the harvest such as bragging of taking it illegally, I would mount it and send it. If the DNR came and took it from you, you still keep the deposit. ;D
  5. Swamp Angel

    Swamp Angel New Member

    The difference lies in what you KNOW to be true and what you FEEL or THINK might be true.

    Just a bit of thought for you though: Taxidermist's Code of Ethics printed in Outlook -- No. 8 reads "I will not accept, as work, any trophy or material that appears to be in violation of legal statutes or commonly defined rules of sportsmanship."

    Bottom line: Be careful, be honest, and KEEP YOUR PAPERWORK!

    Swamp Angel
  6. Becky P

    Becky P One must believe the glass is half full.

    I have a statement on my contract saying that the customer took their trophy legally, and they have to sign it.
  7. Hey Bob,
    Here in MI, it's not your job to be a DNR officer. You should have a contract that states that you assume the game is legal, has been harvested in a legal manner, etc. If the DNR inspects and finds something that doesn't seem right, it's their job to investigate and prosecute if required.

    On the other hand, if you know something is fishy or that someone has broken a law and you ignore it, I feel that you might be liable. That's just my opinion. You can plead ingnorance, but it's your responsibility, as a licensed taxidermist, to know the laws that apply to taxidermy in the state. If you tell the DNR that you don't know a rule or you didn't know a certain law that applies to a taxidermist, that's your fault and, based on what the DNR has told us at the meeting we had them at, you can be found in violation. I would recommend that you get all the information on the rules and laws for taxidermist in MI and reveiw them. You should know laws for harvest of game, game seasons, bag limits as well as the taxidermy related laws.

    Check the DNR web site for the information you need.

    To address another of your questions. If I know it wasen't harvested legal, yes I will take the steps to allert the DNR. You can take it in, call DNR and let them do their job.

    Say if you took a whole elk head in from Colorado. Due to CWD, it's against the law to transport that out of CO and into MI. I know that I would call the DNR and let them handle it. I sure don't want to be the first person in MI to bring in CWD.
  8. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    God knows that some of these states have some very weird laws, but court challenges to individual responsibilities of uninvolved parties usually rule in that party's favor. I am not paid to be a conservation officer/warden and I have absolutely no enforcement powers delegated to me in providing this service. I get animals from all across the nation and by my state law, my only obligation in performing taxidermy work involves me retaining a record of the owner by name, address, and phone number. If THEY suspect a law has been broken, they bring a warrant to my shop to retrieve the item and then they go after the owner. I don't plead ingnorance to anything as anything I may or may not know is considered second-hand information in legal circles.

    MORALLY, however, I have my own system of dealing with such individuals. I tell them what I suspect and advise them that until and unless they clean up their act, I will no longer accept any of their work without explicit documentation.
  9. Jims Wildlife Studio

    Jims Wildlife Studio Full Time PA Taxidermist

    I have to agree with George, Also tell some one I expect of illegal doing's to hit the bricks. I also have in the shop contract like Becky when they sign, if game was harvested legally.
  10. Dean

    Dean New Member

    Viper- I'm the guy you mentioned that turned the guy in with the bird shot deer. The dnr rely on the public and us for tips on illegal stuff. There job is to take the info and sort it out and see if it's legal or not. I don't care if we're obligated to turn someone in or not. It's te right thing to do if you suspect something. If we look the other way that person doesn't get stopped and may do it again. If we turn it down and boot him out he'll look and find someone else crooked enough to do it. I feel if we put a stop to it right away the person in question may be discourage from trying it again. (especially a kid) I know of a few crooked taxidermists around and I don't want the industry to be grouped into a shady catagory with illegal hacks like them. If we keep a good honest relations with enforcement they will trust us more and less likely to bother you if they know you run a good clean honest shop. My local co's know I won't put up with illegal stuff and know I'll make a call to them if I suspect something that came in. I feel it's my reputation and livelyhood is on the line so why risk it. I have enough to do than have to deal with illegal stuff. Every animal poached and taken illegaly is just one more we end up paying for, and one less for one of us to take legally when we are out hunting or fishing or trapping.
  11. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Dean, do you really think that you've stopped this guy and others like him with that reaction? Do you REALLY think from now on he won't take it to one of those other guys you're referring to? What you've done is to give yourself a name you don't need. Just imagine if this guy had taken the deer legally after someone ELSE had shot it with birdshot. You can claim you're helping you CO's, but from years of dealing with them I've learned two things: (1) they think EVERYONE is a crook and (2) some of the biggest violators are CO's. This past week, a "pet" 8 point deer showed up in our neighborhood. Johnny Bunnycop shows up, opens the back of his Tahoe, takes out his slug gun and shoots the deer. I asked why they hadn't tranquilized the deer and taken it to several rehabilitators who have legal penned deer. He CLAIMS the state didn't have a tranquilizer gun but I know that's a lie because I know the Dept. of Ag just bought them one a year ago and sent them to class on its usage. Next day I get a call from DNR wanting me to mount this deer that had been designated a "nuisance deer".

    Like it or not, American's really don't like "snitches". When the word gets back, some of your customers are going to wonder if you open a deer during archery season and find a slug from last year (or birdshot) you won't turn them in as well. The CO's no doubt have already labeled you as someone to keep an eye on to see what you are looking for in personal gain or if you're just a wannabe bunny cop. And I'm sorry if what I've written pisses you off, but you're going to find it's just the truth whether you want it to be or not. I have enough problems collecting money from people who owe me, I damned sure am not going to do the CO's job for free.
  12. rnviper3

    rnviper3 New Member

    ok OK OK, i got the ideas i was looking for. just wanted to know what one should do, and if i was responsible for knowing or not, should a questionable one come in. thanks for the input.
  13. Dean

    Dean New Member

    George- You pushed the right buttons today. Like it or not hear is my responce to your idiotic statments. You make me laugh, what you say is so funny some times. Me being a want to be bunny cop, makes you sound pretty dumb. I guess some of the other taxidermists in my area all want to be bunny cops too, they have called in illegal activity to the dnr as well. I turned in two different poachesr to the dnr in 22-23 years of doing taxidermy and that makes me a snitch. lol. You're right I don't like what you said because it is out of line. You don't realize how dumb that makes you sound by sayiing it. Maybe you've got a crooked co in your area or maybe you just have a chip on your shoulder about them because they shot a pet deer. Makes me wonder about your past with them George. 10 -15 years ago some co's were from the old school of enforcment. They look at everyone as being guilty, prove you're not. My uncle was a co back in the 60's until he died in 1973. It was a lot different back then and they had little training. They didn't do as much screening back then they hired all types of people to do the job. It was a regular job that anyone could apply for. I can't say what kind of a job he did because it was a long time ago, I was a little kid then. Maybe George remembers. I do know times have changed from back then to what it was 15 years ago to what it is now. I've observed that many people that have a negative reaction to the DNR and co's and enforcment in general usually was nailed by them at one time or another or are afraid of being nailed by them because of their ethics. You're attitude and others with the same attitude about enforcment just makes you look guilty like you're trying to hide something. The co's are discreat and when they go question someone, they tell them they were doing a random inspection and discovered something. Most law abiding Sportsmen I deal with appreciate good ethics and don't like unlawful activiity, and the ones that don't are usually the same ones that have something to hide. Those guys can go elswhere. If I got the reputation of being honest and ethical great. Most people around me know I won't put up with illegal stuff. The ones that don't like it can go elswhere,at least I won't have to deal with them. The dnr only seems to do random inspections on only these couple taxidermists and not the rest of us in the area. I guess I must hang around with more ethical sportsmen than you do George. Maybe me teaching firearm safety to kids and teaching them PROPER ethics, obey the laws, and to respect the authorities makes me look at things differently. I know many of the co's around my area and once you get to know them they are pretty good guys. Give it a try George it might make you a happier person.

    George- the pet deer you talked about was shot because it was the dnrs job to do that. Any pet or captive deer that gets out the owner has to contact the authorities and has so time to get the animal back in or it is hunted down and killed. This started back when the CWD panic came out and deer had to be ear tagged the facility has to be inspected twice a year by the board of animal health and not the dnr any more.. I know I have deer and have to follow that law. If I would happen to have a deer get out and couldn't get it back in myself, I'd have to report it and it would be killed. It would be like shooting my own dog but that's the law. I have to deal with it or get rid of my deer. Having only a few tranquilizer guns for the state is about right. They all don't carry one. It isn't practical for everyone to have one. It's a waste of money and the juice has a shelf life. Depending on the tranquilizers used some meat can't be consumed for a certain amount of days with the drug . It is to risky for the animal to be released elswhere after being darted. There is a chance the animal could end up being consumed. They have tranquilizer guns for the rare times where they need to remove captive deer and other odd events. Not to take care of one escaped deer. You can't just bring any deer to someone that raises deer. There are different levels of cwd certification and if you brought an unknown deer into a place you drop that herd back to the lowest level with the certification. If the "pet" deer as you called it is just one that was tamed from the wild by you feeding it then it needed to be shot because it is a very dangerous, unpredictable animal this time of year. Trust me I had to go out to a deer farm a 5-6 years ago and help tranquilze and remove a herd of deer after a buck killed the the owner. It was one of the most sickening gut wrenching things I ever had to do, seeing the blood all over and the guys clothing torn and thrown about and the feelings we all had can't be described. The DNR did the right thing in your neighborhood George by killing the deer. You should be glad they called you to mount it. They must trust you and your work. George -there are to many people that put their head in the sand and look the other way and won't get involved by reporting crimes(like you). It doesn't matter if it's a mugging , murder, rape, robbery, or poaching,etc. It's still breaking the law and we can't look the other way. Why do you thing things are the way they are in the world today? George- Most of the time you have some good information to post but sometimes you are so negative about things and just talk crap. Maybe you like to stir the pot, that's fine but sometimes you are out of line, like this time. I hope we can continue to be civil. Trust me, you want me on your side. I hope the others here agree with me, you are way out of line this time.
  14. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    Dean, who the hell lit the fuse on your tampon? I've heard a lot of rambling commentary, but yours has to be one of the best. You wonder about MY past? Please - that's about as ignorant a remark as you could ever make. I serve on about every wildlife committee in this state, do all the taxidermy FOR the state and both of the National Wildlife Refuges, as well as the country governments and the state department of agriculture. I'm a hunter ed instructor and have been for about 20 years and I teach handgun, rifle, shotgun and archery for the state Master Hunters Program. I write a local outdoors column that is the only source of much of the public information the F&W sections put out, and I serve on the board of directors for the state QDMA as well as the National Taxidermists Association. Just what kind of silly assed comment was that? Only a fool would jeopardize a reputation that I've spent decades working to solidify and for a snotnose like you to even question that is personally insulting. I never said you were a wannabe bunny cop, I just told you what the CO's probably thought that about you as I've heard many of them make that statement before. Do you have guilty conscience?

    Don't tell me what the DNR's job entails. We are NOT a CWD state and their "job" is NOT to shoot deer so that the bunny huggers have something else to put us in the headlines over. It wasn't MY pet deer and had it walked up to me in two weeks during legal hunting season, I'd have taken care of their job for them probably. "My neighborhood" is rural and where the deer was shot was surrounded by woods and hundreds of acres of corn and soybeans. It is illegal to have "pet" deer here without special permits and I'm sure this one had been raised illegally from a fawn since it was eating corn out of the farmers hands before the nitwit shot it standing broadside at 5 yards. (I guess you think I live on the mall in Philadelphia. Maybe you should get your facts straight as to what other states do instead of assuming they all operate like yours.) Two years ago I was called to assist in trapping a reindeer that had escaped a Christmas parade. We'd chased the animal almost 20 miles and by the time we'd cornered it inside a chain link fenced yard, we had a caravan following us that the local radio stations had been announcing our progress. I was standing outside the yard when Johnny Bunnycop pulled that same act. He raced up into the man's yard, slammed on breaks, got out is his black fatigues and bloused boots and grabbed his shotgun. I went up to him and asked what he intended to do. He told me that he was going to end this "stupid" chase right here as the reindeer was causing a safety hazard to traffic and that I'd better step back and let him do his job or I'd be arrested. I told him that before he really did something stupid, I'd suggest that he turn around and look behind him. There on the street were dozens of small children looking at "Santa's reindeer" in the yard. Behind them were two huge vans with dishes atop and reporters filming every second of what was going on for the evening news programs. I thought he was gonna puke. He unloaded his gun, got in his truck, and drove away.

    Today's game wardens are not the knights in shining armor we'd like them to be anymore than the cops, the firemen, or taxidermists. The reputations of the good ones are destroyed by the actions of the stupid ones.

    Your idiotic comment about me "sticking my head in the sand" almost matches where your head is. I was just informing you of public perception and obviously struck a never. I don't tolerate poaching or any game law violation that I see first hand. In this state when you call a warden, the very first words out of his mouth are "Are you willing to stand up in court if we prosecute". What you're doing is justifying your imaginations and the very first time a case goes to court, the defendent beats it, and then he sues you for defamation of character, come back on here and chirp some more.
  15. rnviper3

    rnviper3 New Member

    wow again. i didn't realize that this topic was so heated. i just wanted to know.
  16. Dean

    Dean New Member

    George - I made my comments to piss you off. It worked. I did it to show you how how it feels to slam someone and put them down that you don't even know. How'd it feel . Not to good hey. It hurts don't it. I guess I can pushed the right butons too. I can dig lower than that if you want to keep it up and say more useless crap like you did George. It doesn't help anybody on here, which is the reason for the forum. Next time you have USEFUL information to say, say it with out smearing people. Calling me a want to be bunny cop and a snitch and turning someone in for personal gain was way beyond low. I to am involved with and on the board of many different sportsmen organizations and youth training. If you are doing the same like you say. Then why all the negativity toward the dnr. Shouldn't we be working with them like I posted instead of taking your negativity out on someone doing what they feel is right. I'm big a big enough person to appologize for my negative remarks. We'll all see what kind of guy you really are. I needed to throw a little BS back in your face so you knew how it felt. I'm glad I hit a nerve, maybe next time you'll think things through before you post something and acting like you're above all of us.

    Viper- I tried to give a simple honest answer. I'm sorry Geroge had to turn it into a pissing match and I ended up stupping to his level. I'm sorry for that.
  17. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    No Dean, you didn't try to give an "honest" answer. You tried to impart your personal morality on someone else. You still don't get it that I never called you a wannabe, do you.

    I don't have ANY negative feelings towards the DNR any more than I have them for any governmental agency. NOBODY RIDES FOR FREE. These are just bureaucrats and I work closely with them (a very good relationship that gives me insight and allows me to give them feedback) but I'm not gullible enough to think they're "different" from any other government agency. They don't get a rubberstamp from me and they DO have some real jerks working as wardens. Most wardens DO asssume that you're a lawbreaker. I don't know where you live, but it's not in the world around where I do. I show them all the respect due their positions but they don't come in and inspect my freezers without a warrant. I do my job and if they don't think I"m doing it right, it's THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO DO THEIRS RIGHT. I suspect the only "nerves" that have been struck here belong to you. As I said before, when you get your butt hauled into court to defend defaming someone's character by making claims you have no proof of, make sure you come back here and tell us. And if you'd truly wanted to "help" Viper, you'd have done it a little better than that "me better than you" crap.
  18. Dean

    Dean New Member

    George, re-read your earlier post. You deny what you said even though it's in print. I'll say it again. I appologize for my remarks and dropping to Georges level of comments. His responce was what I expected, more sarcasm and negativity. That's my last responce to this post.
  19. rnviper3

    rnviper3 New Member

    no offence taken. George is a wealth of knowledge, with a stubbornness in his beliefs, but he benefits all of us here on the net forum. dean, i haven't read enough of your post to tell either way. together tho, all the post give me guidelines which to go by, and things to think of when taking in a specimen. thanks again for your help.
    [email protected]
  20. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    "The CO's no doubt have already labeled you as someone to keep an eye on to see what you are looking for in personal gain or if you're just a wannabe bunny cop."

    Dean, you've just got a burr up your ass and want to make an issue of some mental fabrication. There it is - cut and pasted. And if you every "dropped to my level", you'd still be two steps above where you think you are.